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More Gourmet Recipes  

Love and Marriage... (February 9, 2012)

Croque Jeune Homme Amuse-Bouches
French Fondue
North Beach Cioppino
Baked Risotto with Roasted Vegetables
Apple Cake with Maple Syrup and Lemon Balm

Love is in the air, and engagements are being announced! Wedding plans are afoot, and you need to be thinking about the gifts to give the happy couples. Whether they're just starting out, or are merging households, nothing beats a terrific cookbook, and you know it won't be returned.

Hot off the press from one of our favourite food writers, Sarah Copeland, is The Newlywed Cookbook, which will solve your gift question perfectly! Life as a newlywed is about more than cuddles and combined checking accounts... In that first year every couple begins to build the habits and rituals of a rich life together. This book, full of glorious photographs, takes you through meals from breakfast and brunch to parties and even gourmet camping, all organized into the seasons. Start with one of the delicious homemade meals which you'll find in The Newlywed Cookbook that you can make any night of the week, as well as elegant meals to share with friends. A newlywed herself, Sarah Copeland is convinced that just-marrieds who learn to cook, shop and garden together stay together. We think so too!

So the couple has a whole new set of kitchen equipment, including – gasp – a pressure cooker (and a fondue pot!). OMgoodness, what do you do with this? First, open Pressure Cooking for Everyone and within a couple of pages you'll realize what a marvelous appliance this is; then buy two copies of the book, one to give and one for yourself!

This is not your grandmother's dog-eared collection (remember the chicken cacciatore that went all over the ceiling?), this is one-pot gourmet cooking in minutes! Author and acclaimed cooking teacher Rick Rodgers and coauthor Arlene Ward prove that nearly everything can be cooked better – and faster – in a pressure cooker. Meat is more tender, vegetables retain more of their vitamins and minerals, and cleanup is a one-pot proposition! Wow, so how about trying Tuna Steaks in Basque Sweet Pepper Ragout, or Shrimp and Saffron Risotto, or Pork Chops with Cherry-Black Currant Sauce and finishing the meal with Ginger Crème Brulee...

We thought so too! Get this book!

Got a shower to attend? Take along the charming Art of Herbs by Cynthia Peters, a personal chef and food writer, with artwork by Susan Wallis. Peters owns and operates From the Farm cooking school in bucolic Prince Edward County, Ontario, 200 km east of Toronto, where she conducts cooking classes that highlight the art of seasonal country cooking and traditions from around the world. Sessions are held in her restored 1830s farmhouse, Willow Hill in Hillier Township – one of the region's top wine-growing areas. A wide range of classes are available for groups, couples and individuals, from meeting local farmers to preparing traditional favorites in her state-of-the-art chef's home kitchen – the day will capture your heart and your senses. Not close by? Order Art of Herbs at

Who doesn't love classic French cooking? But to produce genuine dishes at home is a bit intimidating. No longer, for The Bonne Femme Cook Book with 250 splendid recipes that French women cook every day has just been published, and best of all, author Wini Moranville has made these recipes accessible and friendly, even to the newbie in the kitchen. We love it, as it's fun to cruise through, with delightful anecdotes and notes on each page coupled with easy-to-prepare dishes for dinner tonight. Why not Trout with Mushroom-Saffron Cream, "Butcher's Day Off" Mushroom Pasta, or one of the 40 chicken recipes – each more delicious-sounding than the last – and savour the description of Wini Moranville's unforgettable first food experience in Paris, at age 16!

On today's menu:

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Croque Jeune Homme Amuse-Bouches

Croque Jeune Homme Amuse-Bouches

Tiny, delicious little surprises that arrive with the aperitif; the amuse-bouche is the classic start to all French meals. This lighter, smaller version of the croque monsieur will delight everyone, especially the chef, as it goes together in minutes! With The Bonne Femme Cook Book in hand, you can easily turn out more delectable, authentic French dishes easily, and in a hurry. Ooh, la la indeed.

Makes about 25 bites

  • 1/2 package frozen puff pastry (1 sheet)
  • 1/3 cup finely diced ham
  • 1/2 cup shredded Comté, Gryuyère, Emmental or Fontina cheese (about 2 ounces)
  1. Thaw the puff pastry according to the package directions.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  3. Unfold the pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut it into three rectangles, approximately 3×9¼ inches each.
  4. Combine the ham and cheese in a bowl. Spread one-third of the filling down the center of each pastry rectangle, parallel to the long edges. Fold each pastry in half lengthwise over the filling, pinching the long sides together to seas. Cut the pastries crosswise into 1-inch pieces.
  5. Place the pieces on the baking sheet. Bake until light brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and serve warm or at room temperature.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Off-dry Riesling or Beaujolais or cool-climate Pinot Noir



French Fondue

French Fondue

So Auntie Bea gave you a fondue pot and you're not really sure what to do with it. As Steven Jenkins, author of Cheese Primer, the unrivalled source on the world's greatest cheeses, says, "A proper fondue is a wonderful thing; you've simply forgotten." Well, then. So remember that a great fondue is made with a great fondue cheese; in France that would be Comté, Gruyère or Emmental. Serve a big bowl of garlicky, vinaigrette-tossed greens and a plate of cured meats such as prosciutto and thin-sliced sausage plus a fruit dessert and you've got a party! From The Bonne Femme Cook Book (of course!).

Makes 4–6 main dish servings

  • 1½ pounds Comté, Gryuyère or Emmental cheese, shredded
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 1½ cups dry white wine, such as unoaked Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc
  • Freshly grated nutmeg (optional) freshly ground black pepper
  • 2% or whole milk (if needed)
  • Toasted bread cubes (from a baguette) and sliced pears or apples
  1. Bring the cheese to room temperature (this will take about 30 minutes). Toss the cheese with the flour. Rub the interior of the fondue pot with the cut garlic clove.
  2. Heat the wine to a low simmer in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low. Add a handful of the cheese mixture and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until melted. Continue with the remaining cheese, adding it by the handful and stirring until each addition is melted before adding more. Stir in a few gratings of nutmeg, if you like. Season to taste with pepper. If the fondue seems too thick, stir in a little milk (up to 1/4 cup).
  3. Transfer the fondue to the fondue pot and keep the mixture bubbling gently over a fondue burner, following the manufacturer's directions. Serve with toasted bread cubes and apple and/or pear slices.

Note: Author Wini Moranville says, "When I'm feeling splashy, I use all Comté, but half Comté and half Gruyère (or half Comté and half Emmental) makes a flavourful fondue, too. You can also use all Gruyère or all Emmental – the flavour won't be as complex without the Comté, but it will still be rich, sharp and nutty." Pass the bread, please!

Tony's wine recommendation:
Red or white Burgundy



North Beach Cioppino

North Beach Cioppino

Who knew you could do delicate fish dishes using the pressure cooker... We certainly didn't! This is a foolproof recipe from San Francisco's North Beach, where the dish is served at every kind of restaurant, from countertop luncheonette to formal bastions of la cocina Italiana. Portuguese and Italian fisherman hotly dispute the origin of cioppino, but because Italian immigrants own more restaurants than the Portuguese, they seem to have won the argument! Who cares, for this last-minute dish goes together in minutes... from Pressure Cooking for Everyone.

Serves 8

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red or green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 celery ribs with leaves, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup hearty red wine, such as Zinfandel
  • 2 cups fish stock or 1 cup bottled clam juice and 1 cup water
  • One 28-ounce can tomatoes in juice, drained and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp crushed hot red pepper flakes
  • 12 ounces skinless cod fillet, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 8 ounces lump crabmeat, picked over for cartilage
  1. In a 5- to 7-quart pressure cooker, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, red or green pepper, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Stir in the stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, bay leaf, salt and hot pepper.
  2. Lock the lid in place. Bring to high pressure over high heat. Adjust the heat to maintain the pressure. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and quick-release the pressure. Open the lid, tilting it away from you to block any escaping steam.
  3. Return the cooker to medium heat. Bring the cooking liquid to a simmer over medium heat, uncovered. Add the cod and shrimp and simmer until the fish turn opaque, about 2 minutes. Do not overcook. Stir in the crabmeat and remove from the heat.
  4. Serve immediately in deep soup bowls.


Tony's wine recommendation:
Chianti, Amarone or Zinfandel



Baked Risotto with Roasted Vegetables

Baked Risotto with Roasted Vegetables

You're just back from a magical honeymoon, and itching to try some of the dishes you enjoyed together. There was that sweet little bistro with the romantic candles and divine, creamy risotto... which can now be yours forever: The Newlywed Cookbook shows you how, and makes it easier by cooking the rice in the oven!

So glad we did the roasted vegetables earlier this week..."Open the wine, darling... dinner will be ready in 30 minutes!"

Serves 2

  • Roasted Winter Vegetables (see below)
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup/150 g Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup/60 mL dry white wine
  • 2 to 2¼ cups / 480 to 540 mL hot water or chicken broth
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup/30 g freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Roast the vegetables on a single baking sheet/tray on the top rack of the oven (the risotto will bake on the bottom rack).
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in an ovenproof saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it is soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Stir in the wine and cook until the wine has evaporated, 1 minute more. Stir in 2 cups/480 mL of the hot water, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover and transfer to the oven. Bake on the bottom rack during the last 25 minutes of roasting time for the vegetables. After 25 minutes, check the risotto. Most of the liquid should be absorbed and the rice just cooked.
  3. Remove the risotto from the oven and stir in another 1/2 cup/12 0mL hot water, butter and cheese.
  4. Serve topped with roasted vegetable with thin shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Roasted Winter Vegetables

Roasting is a no-fuss way to put a lot of vegetables on the table. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness in fall root veggies and winter squash; roast in big batches to use in the risotto or fall and winter salads.

Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 lb/910 kg winter squash or pumpkin, parsnips, carrots, beets or a mix
  • 2 medium red or yellow onions, quartered
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Handful of fresh parsley, coarsely chopped for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Peel and cut the vegetables into equal-sized pieces, about 1-inch/2.5 cm chunks. Toss the vegetables and onions in olive oil in a large bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Spread the pieces out in a single layer on one or two roast pans/trays so that the vegetables don't touch. Roast until the veggies are lightly browned and just tender, 45 minute to 1 hour, depending on the vegetable. Remove and toss with additional olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley before serving.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Soave, Pinot Grigio or unoaked Chardonnay



Apple Cake with Maple Syrup and Lemon Balm

Apple Cake with Maple Syrup and Lemon Balm

Friends are coming over this morning for coffee, and I've got to do something! Quick, I'll do this delicious cake from The Art of Herbs Cookbook; it goes together in minutes; a small dollop of Crème Fraîche will be the perfect topping. We may just have a couple of slices left over for dessert tonight... oh, thank you, Cynthia Peters!

Serves 6

  • 1 lemon
  • 2 cups peeled, sliced apples
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp finely chopped lemon balm
  • 1 Tbsp plus 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup white or cane sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  1. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan. Preheat oven to 375°F. Finely grate lemon zest and set aside. Squeeze juice from lemon and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the sliced apples, brown sugar, maple syrup, lemon balm, 1 Tbsp four, lemon zest and 2 Tbsp lemon juice. Distribute the apple mixture evenly in the cake pan then drizzle melted butter on top.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, mix together 1 cup of flour, white sugar, salt and baking powder. In another bowl, using an electric beater set on medium beat together the egg yolks, buttermilk and the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter. Add wet mixture to dry ingredients and mix very well, into a thick batter.
  4. Carefully spread batter over apples with a spatula. It will be a thin layer of batter.
  5. Bake the cake for 35 to 40 minutes in preheated oven, or until golden on top. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Chef Notes: Lemon brings out the best in the apples in this delicious light dessert. You can substitute other fruits for the apple, like peaches. Just add a little more flour to soak up the extra juice. Yum.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Auslese or Select Late Harvest Riesling, Monbazillac


We wish to thank the following for permission to publish material and photographs/art work:

Chronicle Books San Francisco and Raincoast Publishing, Vancouver for Pressure Cooking for Everyone. Text ©2000 Rick Rodgers and Arlene Ward. Photographs © 2000 Kathryn Russell.


The Newlywed Cookbook. Text © 2012 Sarah Copeland. Photographs © 2012 Sara Remington. Illustrations © 2012 Jessica Hische.


The Harvard Common Press, Boston, and Thomas Allen and Sons, Toronto, for The Bonne Femme Cook Book. © 2011 Wini Moranville.


Maracle Press, Melt Studio and From the Farm Enterprises for The Art of Herbs Cookbook. Text © 2011 Cynthia Peters and Susan Wallis. Paintings © 2011 Susan Wallis. Recipes © 2011 Cynthia Peters.


Ron Morris and Helen Hatton

Happily enjoyed by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.

Download this article in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (113 KB)

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